Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Let Daily Coffee Be Your Guide

Over the years I have uncovered a number of compulsive behaviors. I've tried to ask 'why,' find ways to make sense of them, and spent money on therapy to get to the bottom of things. I'm over that. I don't want to know WHY anymore, I just want to kick them all out the door like an unwelcome house guest. Since there is a tendency for depression when it's cold and grey outside, I have decided that the beloved artists' past time of alcohol should be omitted from the equation (along with all other drug use aside from coffee). Compulsive eating or purging are hard to do on a low budget, and I'm not disciplined enough for anorexia. I'm not computer savvy, so escaping into the world of chatrooms, online gaming or any other sort of avatar-like activity are also out of the question. If sleeping were an Olympic sport I would most certainly medal. Can one become a compulsive sleeper? I don't think that's really me either, as I do tend to stay awake through most of the night, which could cause the reason for the following day's drowsiness. What my latest obsession tends to be is the symbolic behavior related to my existential plight of not wanting to go outside until things are properly tended to on the inside. Essentially, I am acting out my spiritual crisis in the way I live my daily life. I don't want to go out into the world until my apartment is clean, I have exercised, practiced, studied and meditated. HOWEVER, I have been sitting idly by and not partaking in any of these activities, therefore creating a mild version of agoraphobia. Not enough to worry about panic attacks, but enough to keep me chained inside my surroundings until I deal with them. Maybe I'm depressed. Maybe I need more daily endorphins, or to just accomplish one activity a day that allows me to feel productive instead of thinking about the crippling feeling of doing nothing. I think there is more to it than a general tendency toward laziness, but as I mentioned before I don't care so much about the 'why' anymore. So, lately I've tried just doing one or two things on my grand list of necessary actions to motivate myself.
First, I decided that regular showering (no matter how irritatingly small my shower is) was a
good way to start. Water is cleansing and not smelling like a steel worker makes it worthwhile.

Second, came random fixes around the apartment.
It's surprising how gratifying it is to defrost
one's freezer - even if it is smaller than a Nike shoebox (literally, not

Next, I really needed a haircut, but am trying to be disciplined with money and no longer have access to the generosity of my New York City hair stylist friends. So....yes....I opted for the "do it yourself" method. I had worked in salons and seen enough haircuts to where I thought I might be able to pull it off. Just to be smart - I looked up a couple of techniques on the internet.... They were all designed for the ability to move around the person's head and since I have yet to achieve the ability to split my own atoms and form two Kristens this didn't really help. Then I thought....there has to be someone who has wasted enough time to post this sort of thing on YouTube. I found several different videos, but licensed cosmetologist Carolyn Dickerson was my favorite.
I can't recommend it enough if you have the patience to watch the entire thing. Be on the lookout for the wildlife in the background, her clear diction, heavy breathing from the camera man and exquisite wardrobe choices. It is a difficult feat to endure all eight minutes, but if you can get through the first 1:05 seconds, try to stick it out until at least 2:05.
Toward the end she is sitting in her lovely denim skirt which begged the concern - I hope she is
wearing appropriate undergarments. The ending credits are sweet as she does thank her son Lars for keeping her young....I spent some time wondering what that meant.

After the tutorial, I decided it was time to jump in with both feet. I wet my hair, sectioned
it off, and went to work. I had remnants of a layered haircut which was way overgrown, so I wouldn't just be able to simply trim the ends and call it a day. I remembered a technique from a stylist I used to work with and used that as my model while trying to keep it simple. I got through the back, front, and right side before I started to lose steam. I have a lot of hair and this was taking forever! By the time I got to the left side, the sections I cut became a little larger and less precise.... Not the brightest idea I've ever had, but it was like 1:30 in the morning and I was over it. Admittedly the layers on the left are a bit shorter and less graduated due to my lack of patience, and it is slightly reminiscent of a beauty school drop-out's handy work. Nothing a curling iron and a little hair spray can't fix......I hope. It's only hair. It grows back. Especially on your chin if you're over thirty.

I wish this had solved my problem of taking care of my daily responsibilities but, alas it only allowed me to avoid them that much longer. So, onto the new fix. There is not enough sage I can burn, crystals I can empower, or books I can read that will give me a way around the only solution that lay before me. Just do it. (Nike's marketing efforts have truly stayed with me apparently......kudos Wieden & Kennedy). The thought of doing everything all at once becomes a bit overwhelming, so I am going to experiment by bringing in one new thing that I do routinely everyday for 5 days and then include an additional task alongside that for 5 more, and so on. Right now the only ritual I take part in without fail at the exact same time every day, is that of coffee in a French press. This has been going on for years, so I feel confident that now is the time to introduce it to some new friends. Like all new relationships, there may be difficulty in finding a proper rhythm once excitement of the honeymoon has worn off, but in the same vain it is in the establishment of a good foundation which will imbibe solidification for longevity. God, I hope I buy that.


  1. Love it! I"m going through a workbook right now for therapy that you might find interesting, definitely someting you could do yourself:) It uses behavioral activation, no whys, but the idea that what we do changes our moods but you have to figure out that connection. It has already given me some powerful realizations! "Overcoming Depression One Step at a Time"

    PS there is a lot more to it then laziness :)

  2. I've spent many times in bed to avoid the day as well. For me, waking up in the morning and thinking of the whole day ahead was terrifying. I too assign myself endless tasks which then become way too overwhelming. So I've learned to assign 30 mintues to things like practicing. It's a silly saying but here goes...How do you eat an elephant? One piece at a time.

  3. I loved reading this! This moment in your life has equal importance, significance and weight as the times when you felt the most "successful." Congrats on your journey for more personal discovery.

  4. i love that photo of you. you look beautiful... and good in green. miss you, opera girl.

  5. Hahaha, I kind of feel like it looks a little "crazy-one-eye" but thanks!